If any commit is in a position to deliver a detailed review of the new California coaching staff's official visit acumen, it's Ray Hudson.
Committed to the Bears since June, the Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill tight end-turned-inside receiver has been the heart and soul of this recruiting class through some tumultuous months, from a 3-9 season to a coaching change and now, as the unquestioned emotional leader of the remaining signing class, with quarterback Jared Goff already enrolled and taking classes.
Hudson gave his official visit this weekend a big two thumbs-up, particularly when it came to helping solidify the biggest remaining target in offensive line commit Cameron Hunt.
"The Cal coaches did a very good job in putting it all together. It was well-run, and I thought it was a pretty good success," Hudson said. As for Hunt? "I think we spent about 95 percent of the visit together. The plan is, if he does stay with Cal, we'll be roommate-ing at Cal. If he enjoyed it as much as I did, he'll definitely stick around. I think all of us had a good time. It was good for us all to realize how lucky we are to get the chance to play at Cal. This coaching staff is awesome, and I think we all just enjoy everything there. He had a really good time. There were a lot of positives. I don't think there was any negative that I saw from him."
But the weekend was not just about retaining Hunt. It was also about gaining a trio of new commits in Ray Davison, Jacobi Hunter and Marcus Manley.
"I was not surprised, because after hearing everybody's opinion of the visit, I knew there was going to be a lot of commitments coming in," Hudson said. "There still will be, coming in later, I'm sure, just off of this visit alone."
The weekend also served to allow Hudson to talk shop with his new position coaches -- Mark Tommerdahl and Rob Likens.
"The coaches met with us, and we had individual meetings. That was really good for me, because coach Tommerdahl really took the time to sit me down and go over some film and show me what he's going to want me to be doing in my role in the offense," Hudson said. "I'm actually really pleased that he showed me where I would be and I also went with the other wide receiver coach, and he showed me some tips for what to do when I'm running my routes, and specifically a couple routes they're going to want me to run down on the goal line, and stuff like that. It was definitely very informational, and an uplifting visit for me, personally."
Hudson also got to spend a lot of quality time with his future teammates while on the visit.
"It was everything I thought it would be, and more," Hudson said of the visit. "It was kind of all the commits. It was me, Darius Allensworth, Hunt, [Edward] Tandy, Takk McKinley -- all the guys who committed, pretty much everybody was in a big group, and we were all with our hosts and we all ended up meeting up together and doing everything. It was more of a big group than a few cliques, which is definitely a good thing."
Hudson's player host was, appropriately enough, Bryce McGovern, who was a league rival of Hudson's when he played at Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista.
"I played against him my sophomore year, when I was up on varsity," Hudson said. "I was actually the safety when he was the receiver. I had never really actually met him, but we got close during the visit, and he's definitely someone I'd hang out with when I get up there to Berkeley."
Hudson also got a look into his future, a bit, while spending time with the players both during visit activities and while spending a night on the town.
"It was very fun, actually, meeting with all the coaches together and meeting all the players and being able to go and walk around in the shoes I'll be walking in the next four or five years," Hudson said. "It was good to see all the things that go on at Berkeley every day, and I got a chance to go into an education meeting and Nick Forbes spoke. He gave a speech that was definitely one of the best I've ever heard, and I think he kind of won over all the parents with his speech on academics. It was very uplifting and good to hear all the things that I'm about to have a chance to participate in."
Of course, the weekend wasn't without its hiccups.
"It was actually funny, because we were showing up to breakfast the first day, we came in and we were all sitting in a group, and a couple other guys came in and we were all sitting in a circle, and the coaches came up and started introducing themselves to everybody, and actually, some of the players in that circle were our hosts," Hudson laughed. "They haven't really met the whole team yet, so it was funny because of how brand-new everything is. Coach [Sonny] Dykes even said himself, he's still getting to know the players still, because everything's in that new, beginning stage. I was actually very surprised with the official visit, how well it was done."
Trip Report: Ray Hudson
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